The CNMA consists of two full-time staff members, two part-time employees, a volunteer Board of Directors, and approximately 500 paid memberships. The current Board of Directors include:
Ken Kreie, Chair:
I am a lifetime Grand Valley resident. I graduated from Central High School and Colorado Mesa University. I spent 15 years doing environmental and engineering work for the oil and gas industry. Currently, I work for the Department of Energy managing sites in Mississippi, Nevada, Wyoming and Washington.
I have been married to my wife, Rachelle, for over 25 years, and we have two children. We have lived in Fruita since 2006.
In addition to currently serving on Fruita City Council, I also serve or have served on several boards including President of the Orchard Valley West HOA, the Elmwood Lateral Ditch Board, the City of Fruita Downtown Advisory Board, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Energy and Economic Development Committee, and the Colorado Mesa University Unconventional Energy Center Advisory Committee.
I coordinate and promote concerts, comedy, and cultural events at the local performing arts venue in Downtown Fruita called Cavalcade. I helped start Cavalcade in 2011 and emcee our variety show that takes place the second Saturday of every month.
Mark Swain, Vice Chair:
Mark is the President of Networks Unlimited. He founded the company in 2001 after years in the technology industry. Mark has lived in Maryland, Spain, Washington DC, Germany, California, South Dakota, and Mississippi as a military brat. He met his wife Amy, a Grand Junction local, in college. After living in Seattle for a few years, they decided Grand Junction was a better place to raise their family. In his free time, you can find Mark hunting, mountain biking, snowboarding, and spending time with his family and friends. He is also a fantastic chef, who shares his gift with NU’s staff by cooking up breakfast and lunch when they’re good.
Lori Frank, Treasurer:
Lori is a fourth generation native Coloradan, born and raised in the Denver area. Her husband’s family was from the Grand Valley and Paonia, so they decided to move to Grand Junction in 2019. She has a B.S. in Business Administration (emphasis Accounting) as well as an M.S. in Management (minor in Accounting), both from University of Colorado, Denver. She worked several years in accounting software consulting, six years as CFO of a charitable foundation and 13 years as Global Controller for the management company of a private equity firm. Lori volunteers with FoodBank of the Rockies. She hikes often with her husband in the Colorado National Monument and elsewhere on the western slope. She enjoys kayaking, cycling, pickleball and walking her dogs.
Melinda Shishim, Secretary: Melinda is an attorney working for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She received her JD from Vermont Law School, and a BA in English from Fort Lewis College where she was a member of the road cycling team. She loves to travel and recently got engaged in Guatemala. She and her fiance have a cat and are awaiting the arrival of their new rescue pup.
Debbie Kovalik, Member: Debbie is a third generation Colorado Native, born in Denver, Colorado, graduated from The University of Northern Colorado and has worked in Television Media as a journalist, in marketing and advertising and began a career in Destination Marketing in Colorado Springs in 1985. In January of 1990, Debbie was hired as the First Executive Director of the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau and served in that Leadership Roll for the City of Grand Junction for 28 years, until her Retirement in early 2018.
Michael Paxson, Member: Bio coming soon!
David Conner, Member: I have lived in Grand Junction for 34 years and have no plans on leaving the area. I have a wife of 18 years (Carrieann) and two kids – Mia, 16-year-old daughter and Spencer, 12-year-old son. We enjoy hiking, biking, skiing and 4 wheeling all over the western slope of Colorado. I have a B.S. in computer science from Colorado Mesa University (Mesa State when I graduated). I have work for ProVelocity and its sister company OBJ Group for the last 8 ½ years helping business on the western slope with IT solutions and voice/internet needs. I have enjoyed being a Rotarian at the Rotary Club of Grand Junction for 4 ½ years, on several committees within the club and was a Boy Scout leader with my son.
Danni Langdon, Member: Danni’s background is in environmental science and ranch management. She has resided for 24 years in a rammed earth house on Glade Park that she and Carl built mostly themselves. Pastimes include hiking, biking, skiing, reading, advocating for wildlands, and enjoying her Border collies. The proximity of their property to the Monument (which they border) deepens Danni’s passion for the Monument and the ever-increasing need for protection of its beauty and resources.
Victor Ketellapper, Member: Victor Ketellapper moved to Colorado in 1984 to explore the Rocky Mountains through hiking, skiing and backpacking. Since moving to Colorado, Victor has explored Colorado and developed a passion for preserving and restoring our wild places.
Victor’s professional experience has focused on finding solutions to complex environmental problems through multiple stakeholder involvement. He developed this expertise by leading cleanups at Superfund Sites, guiding watershed assessment and restoration projects to improve water quality, supporting efforts for Good Samaritans to reclaim orphaned mine sites, and safely repurposing hazardous waste sites.
Victor earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Davis, a Bachelor of Science in Geophysics from California State University at Northridge and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Victor currently lives in Grand Junction with his wife, Terra. During his free time, you can find Victor hiking, backpacking, playing pickleball, or at the beach.
Joel Bechtel, Member: Born in Warren, Minnesota in 1945, Joel moved to Greeley, Colorado as a child. Attended Colorado University for his undergraduate degree and then Colorado University Medical School, obtaining his M.D. in 1971. After completing internship at the University of California in L.A. he served 3 years as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy. Joel then completed his medical education with an Internal Medicine residency at the University of Oregon and a fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Michigan. Returning to Colorado, with his wife and two sons in 1980, Joel opened a Pulmonary Medicine practice in Grand Junction. Joel has practiced Pulmonary and Intensive Care medicine for over 34 years, retiring October of 2014. During his career, Joel served on the St. Mary’s Board of Directors, the St. Mary’s Foundation Board and was Chief of Medical Staff for two years. Since retirement, Joel is again on the St. Mary’s Foundation Board, and now serving on the Colorado National Monument Association Board. Joel is an avid road biker and more recently, he’s added pickle-ball to his sporting endeavors.
Carl Jacobson, Member: Carl is a long-term resident of Glade Park. He lives adjacent to Colorado National Monument in a solar-powered rammed-earth home that Danni and he built from native materials. Having grown up on a ranch in Wyoming, he enjoys the solitude that the monument offers, but also enjoys his interactions with the diverse populace of Glade Park. He is a chemical engineer from Mines. He worked as an engineering manager in oil shale, ground-water remediation, energy conservation, and renewable energy installations. When not reading or traveling, Carl may be found hiking, biking, skiing or hanging out in the woods.
Jesse Scott, Member: Jesse coordinates mentoring efforts for students at Colorado Mesa University, as well as facilitates trainings on suicide interventions and mental health awareness. With a background in wilderness therapy, counseling, social work and youth corrections, he’s excited to be a part of the CNMA Board in its efforts to foster connection to place, as it relates to the monument and those who visit the special places within its boundaries. Jesse also dedicates his time to alpine ski racing as the Head Coach for the CMU ski team as well as provides coach instruction to the Powderhorn Racing Clubs coaching staff. As a Grand Junction area native, Jesse spent a great deal of his childhood hiking the trails within the monument and sharing picnics with his family at the various pullouts and campgrounds. Jesse is passionate about advocating for the care, utility and overall well-being of this sacred space, and along with his wife Ilana, will continue to be grateful for any time spent in the monument hiking or sharing a picnic with friends and family.
Kauai Fitt, Member: Bio coming soon!
Colorado National Monument Association board meeting are held once each month, typically 4:00-6:00 pm on the third Monday afternoon of the month, at Western Colorado Community College. Call the executive director or any board member for current details. Colorado National Monument Association 970-858-3617 ext 360